HPE ML10 Gen 9 server replace fans PSU

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tldr; Does the HPE ML10 Gen 9 server use a standard 4 pin PWM case fan connector? Does it have a standard ATX 24 pin motherboard header? I want to change the PSU and case fan to make it quieter.

I picked up an HPE ML10 Gen 9 server to use as a NAS / media server. It's reasonably quiet, but I'd like to make it almost silent from 4m away so I can locate it in the living room.

There is no fan control in the BIOS. The fan control is proprietary and doesn't seem to be able to be controlled using third party software. The linux lm-sensors package reports temps, but not fan speeds and can't control the fan speeds.

The unit has a single 92mm case exhaust fan and a 300W PSU cooled with an 80mm fan.

I've read that HPE uses proprietary connectors and non-standard pinouts. That would mean I can't replace the case fan or PSU with standard off the shelf components. However, I've found the following thread where the author replaced the case fan with a standard Noctua fan and a standard PicoPSU.
https://linustechtips.com/topic/691365-hpe-ml10-gen9-budget-server/

Does anyone know if HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) used standard connections for its ML10 gen9? Does HPE use standard connections on any of its products?

I'm going to try replacing the case fan and PSU and see how it goes.

--
Unrelated, but here are some tips for new HPE ML10 Gen 9 owners:
1) The case fan spins up to full speed when connected to a power source. This happens as soon as power is connected, without having to press the power button. It spins down automatically to a lower speed after around 30 seconds. Booting with no case fan connected causes a seemingly endless boot/reboot loop and flashing error light on the power button.

2) HPE offers a bios update on its support page:
https://support.hpe.com/hpesc/publi...andSoftware&sort=relevancy&numberOfResults=25
2a) The bios is listed as "entitlement required". That typically means you need a support contract with HPE to download it. I was able to download it freely without any login or registration required.
2b) The linux bios update option didn't work. The install script tried to compile a new kernel module which just didn't work. I ended up flashing the bios successfully using a trial installation of windows.
There is a thread here on the linux flash problem:
https://community.hpe.com/t5/ProLiant-Servers-ML-DL-SL/Firmware-update-on-Linux/td-p/6992103

3) The server has two DisplayPort outputs only. There is no VGA. If you do not have a displayport connection on your monitor then you need an "active" adapter. A "passive" adapter will not work. The adapter has to have circuitry to convert the DP protocol to the protocol that your monitor connection requires. Some displayport ouputs do this protocol conversion natively. The ML10 Gen9 does not.
All VGA adapters are passive (VGA is analogue so must be converted from the digital DP output). All DVI adapters are not passive, so be careful which you buy. HP's formal support advisory on the issue is here. It has model numbers for the HP adapters. I used a non-HP generic alternative.
https://support.hpe.com/hpesc/public/docDisplay?docId=emr_na-c05226637
 
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Throrik: Thanks for the link. It is for the "HPE ProLiant ML10 Gen9 ServerMaintenance and Service Guide". The guide has no detail on the fan pinouts unfortunately. HPE does say that the PSU is an "ATX 300W". I would have thought that to be called an "ATX" PSU would mean the connector would have to be ATX compliant too.
 
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I've taken measurements of power draw and noise of the ML10 gen9 with no hard drives installed. CPU is a Xeon E3 1225v5. The measurements were taken booted in a xubuntu 20.04 live environment. Default BIOS settings.

Desktop showing (not on screensaver): 13 W draw at plug socket.
Noise: front intake 35 dBA, exhaust fan at rear 40 dBA, 1m from exhaust fan: 30 dBA.

When the screensaver came on the power draw reduced to 12.7 W at the plug socket.

I've looked into quiet PSUs. Be Quiet seem to be a good choice for a quiet efficient PSU. I've contacted Be Quiet for technical advice on which of its PSUs is best for an always on server at a sub 20 W idle draw.

The 300 W Pure Power 11 PSU is 80+ Bronze rated but the 400 W is 80+ Gold. Gold has a slightly higher efficiency (85% vs 90% at 20% load). The problem is that the standard only has minimum efficiency ratings down to 20% load (so 60W for a 300W PSU and 80W for a 400W PSU). The server will be spending most of its time idling at around 15 W (so 5% load for a 300 W PSU). PSU efficiencies drop off a cliff at low loads. See the EPA's presentation on low load efficiency in the following slides. The efficiencies of the bronze and gold converge to around 65% at low loads. So there appears to be no reason to spend the extra £10 on the 400W gold rated PSU over the 300W bronze rated one. I've asked Be Quiet to confirm.
https://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/ENERGY STAR Computers Low Load IPS Webinar Slides.pdf

images


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tldr;
I can confirm that the HPE ML10 Gen 9 motherboard has a standard 24 pin ATX header. I can also confirm that the 4 pin PWM case fan header is standard.
Swapping the HPE PSU for the BeQuiet PSU dropped the idle consumption 1W, but no change in noise level.
Swapping the HPE case fan for a Noctua fan dropped the noise level from 40 dBA at the rear of the case to 37 dBA. That's half the noise level.
Moving the voltage adapter from the Noctua over to the CPU fan dropped the noise level at the rear of the case to 36 dBA.

More details below.

I've bought and installed the following.
BeQuiet 300 W Pure Power 11 PSU
https://www.overclockers.co.uk/be-q...0w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-12u-bq.html

Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM Fan - 92mm
https://www.overclockers.co.uk/noctua-nf-a9x14-pwm-fan-92mm-fg-015-nc.html

BeQuiet technical support wrote back to me to confirm that the Pure Power 11 300 W PSU would be more efficient than the 80+ Gold rated 400 W at a socket draw of 16W.
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"Thank you very much for contacting the be quiet! service.
At 16W load the S9-300W will be slightly more efficient (~68%), if main load is on 12V.
Power Input difference will be aroun 0.5W.
If main load is on minor rails (3.3/5V) things could change a little, because dc-dc-converter on L11 is more efficient at high current.
But keep also in mind, that L11 will be more silent."
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Power draw measurements with the new psu (all at the wall socket):
Booted into Xubuntu: 12 W (booted from usb stick. No hard drives installed). Drops to 11.6 W when the screensaver comes on, and 11 W when the monitor goes into power saving.
Noise: front intake: 38 dBA, exhaust fan at rear: 40 dBA, 1m from exhaust fan: 29 dBA.
At boot: 30.7 W (all the fans spin fast at startup).

Installed an SSD and a 3.5" mechanical hard drive:
Booted into Xubuntu: 22 W monitor on, desktop showing.
39.6 W at boot.

Swapped the HPE 92 mm PWM case fan with the Noctua 92mm PWM case fan (with the low noise adapter accessory to lower the voltage; SSD only, no HDD.):
Noise: front intake: 35 dBA, exhaust fan at rear: 37 dBA, 1m from exhaust fan: 28 dBA.

Swapped the low noise adapter from the Noctua PWM case fan to the CPU PWM fan (SSD only, no HDD):
Noise: front intake: 34 dBA, exhaust fan at rear: 36 dBA, 1m from exhaust fan: 28 dBA.

Next challenge is to quieten the case vibration from the mechanical hard drive.
 
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